Marvellous Marva bags feature
Vastly improved MARVELLOUS MARVA yesterday ran on in deep stretch to overhaul ORPHEUS in the Gladiator Trophy, powering home by a length and a half in the 1400-metre feature.
Trained by Philip Feanny, the grey filly clocked 1:26.1 for the distance, beating open allowance horses on her first attempt after winning easily among overnight allowance runners on November 18.
ORPHEUS led from the start but under pressure from MARVELLOUS MARVA and rail-running BLUE DIXIE into the lane.
However, topweight 57.0 kilos took toll on ORPHEUS early in the stretch run, giving way to lightweights MARVELLOUS MARVA and BLUE DIXIE, both running with 50.0 kilos.
Set down for the drive by Oneil Mullings, 4-5 favourite MARVELLOUS MARVA closed strongly on the outside to grab the lead early inside the last furlong.
SOY EL SENOR closed for second, relegating stalemate ORPHEUS to third in a field reduced to five with ANOTHER BULLET's late scratch at the gate.
Champion trainer Wayne DaCosta put icing on a 17th title, posting WITHOUT EXCEPTION in the opening event, handing Winston Kong his first owners' championship, denying arch rival Anthony Nunes' Stephan Narinesingh.
NELSON WON LAST RACE
Dane Nelson, who opened the 10-race card aboard WITHOUT EXCEPTION, also won the last race of the year with even-money SIR LEYLAND HALL at 1000 metres straight.
Apprentices Javaniel Patterson and Anthony Thomas also ended the year with two winners apiece.
Patterson landed the second and fourth races astride outsiders CONCUR at 4-1 in the second event and 9-1 shot CODED SECRET in the fourth.
Thomas was victorious aboard two favourites, JAMALJAMES in the fifth and PAKMAN in the eighth, both for the day's leading trainer, Fitzroy Glispie.
The 2018 season opens tomorrow with three feature races, the New Year's Day Trophy at 1300 metres and a pair of 1820-metre co-features, the $1 million McKay Security Trophy for $180,000 claimers and the Fan Appreciation Day Trophy for overnight allowance runners.